Thursday, February 28, 2019

FAO CAA Year 1: Story / Fantastic Voyage 2019 - Examples Of Previous Student Work

Make no mistake, ladies and gentlemen, this is it - the big one. The Fantastic Voyage project is your opportunity to pull out all the stops and accomplish something extraordinary - your first cg animation. 

This project is a culmination of all you've learned since week one of term one and you need to think creatively, ambitiously and you need to be determined from the very outset to make the best work of which you're capable. 

You are not simply being asked to satisfy a year one project brief. You are being challenged to make others take your creative potential seriously, to put your money where your mouth is - to shine. This is about you and them - the audience. You need to get them on side. You need to make them love your vision. You need to win the prize, seal the deal, steal the show. This isn't about grades or what your tutor might think, or what your classmates might think - this is about the client and what they think!

I will be looking very carefully at the way in which you meet the challenge of Fantastic Voyage, particularly in terms of the ways in which you give and receive feedback and engage with each other proactively. Next year, you'll be working collaboratively on joint projects and I'm looking for evidence of professionalism, maturity and supportive relationships between peers. I will be using this project to identify which students will work together in year 2 on a 'like with like' basis, using your summative grade as my guide.

By way of inspiration, I want you to spend some time really looking at these examples of previous student work produced in response to this brief. The students' names link to their respective blog archives, which I encourage you to browse. Please note the high level of finish and professionalism, ambition and strong cinematic production design common to all these examples. This is your benchmark and ours - a clear indication of what we know is possible from first year students who arrived (just like you) with no prior experience of CGI or film-making.

Use your social networks to ensure everyone has seen this information prior to Thursday's briefing in Lecture Theatre 1 @ 12 noon.  Many thanks.


FAO all years: Canterbury Anifest next week

Canterbury Anifest is back!  

8th and 9th March

What is Anifest?

Canterbury Anifest is an award-winning animation festival and the largest annual event of this kind in the South East. It’s a great community event that invites people of all ages to come and experience the magic of animation; allowing them to get involved with something out of the ordinary. With its range of workshops, masterclasses, talks and films, it has something for everyone. Anifest also caters for specialists and those in the industry, featuring national and international awards, and guest speakers from some of the biggest names in animation.

Find out more HERE

Monday, February 25, 2019

FAO CAA Year 1: Story / Soundscapes - Blog Submission Criteria 12/03/2019 @ 1pm

This is a reminder that you're submitting your Soundscape project to your blog only on Tuesday 12th March by 1pm.  Your submission post should be labelled accordingly: Blog submission - Soundscape.  

Your submission post should only include the following:

Your Soundscapes x 3

Your 'Sonic Concept' documentation (i.e. choose a method by which you can best articulate the ideas driving the design of each soundscape as a response to the image that inspired it; it might be a short written statement of intent, a 'word cloud' or text combined with supporting influence maps... Be imaginative and communicative).

For your reference - the requirements of the brief: 

You are asked to produce 3 x 30 second soundscapes in response to the images allocated to you at the briefing, which should demonstrate clearly your understanding of the principles of sound design and the ways in which its careful consideration can enrich time-based narrative structures effectively. 

Important: No pre-recorded SFX or music to be used in the creation of your soundscapes.

You are asked to produce a comprehensive blog archiving and annotating your creative development during the duration of the project. You should use the blog to reflect critically upon your own creative practice and the wider cultural and thematic context of the unit.

Your blog must include:

1) Your three 30 second soundscapes.

2) All original SFX + description.

3) All post-produced SFX + description.

4) Your ‘Sonic Concept’ publication (as Scribd Presentation)

5) Your Sound Designer Profile (as Scribd Presentation)

6) All Adobe Audition exercises.

7) Your final submission must include a short reflective statement. A reflective statement is a statement in which the student considers their experience of a project. Reflective statements are used to understand past events, learn lessons and identify best practice.

Please organise your project work by adding a 'Soundscape' label to all relevant blog posts. This will ensure I'm able to group and segregate your Soundscape submission for purposes of assessment.

Go here to take another look at previous examples of student work.

Remember - I am actively looking for evidence you've 'gone beyond the four walls of your room' in regards to your harvesting of sound effects.  The challenge of this project asks you to embrace your role as 'explorers of sound' and as 'magical listeners'.  Don't disappoint!

This needs to be you!

Please use your social networks to ensure your classmates have seen this information. Many thanks.

FAO CAA Yr 3: 74 Days & Counting!

Yes, you know what these black and yellow numbers mean...

You have just 74 days remaining until final submission or 2 months and 12 days.

If you're not animating already, you should move heaven and earth to ensure you're animating your first shot by Monday. Animation will eat time - and very good animation will eat lots of it. Your priority now is to give your animation duties as much time as humanly possible. Do whatever it takes to get there and get started, for this is where the magic happens!  

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

CAA Careers: Happening today! CV Masterclass

Happening today in Lecture Theatre 1
12:30 - 14:00

Learn how to 'fine-tune' your profile, and promote yourself on a one page CV.
Everyone welcome! 

Monday, February 18, 2019

CAA Careers: UCA Job Teaser

For those of you experiencing difficulties registering with the UCA Job Teaser website, make sure that you use the email, instead of the old one.

Thanks to Graeme for bringing the issue to my attention!

FAO CAA Year 1: 'From Script To Screen' Submission Checklist & Final Crit Requirements 22/02/2019

What follows are instructions for your crit presentations and reminders of what you need to present and submit. Please use your social networks to ensure everyone has seen this information and understood it. Any queries, please leave a comment and I'll clarify where necessary.

In response to the three story components given you at the time of briefing, you are asked to pre-produce an original two minute animation. 

Your pre-production is to be submitted in 2 parts;

1) Pre-Viz, to include:

a) 2d animatic with soundtrack & transitions.
b) Maya pre-viz with soundtrack & transitions

2) An ‘Art Of’ publication, to include:

a) concept art : environment design
b) concept art : character design
c) concept art : prop design
d) Final environment designs
e) Final prop designs
f) Final character designs (character sheets)
g) Final presentation storyboards
h) Final script

You are asked to produce a comprehensive blog archiving and annotating your creative development during the duration of the unit.  You should use the blog to reflect critically upon your own creative practice and the wider cultural and thematic context of the unit.

Important! Your blog must include:

1) Your final CG Pre-Viz.
2) Your final Animatic.
3) Your ‘Art Of’ publication (as Scribd Presentation)
4) Final storyboards.
5) Final script.
6) Draft scripts/story development – to include:

a) The Development 
b) The Treatment
c) The Step Outline
d) The Premise
e) The Logline
f) Character Biographies

7) Preparatory storyboards (anything you've storyboarded in development of your final boards).
8) Final concept art for character/environment/props.
9) Supporting artwork for character/environment/props.
10) Supporting research for character/environment/props (anything you've looked at in development of your assets).
11) Influence maps for character/environment/props.
12) Your film reviews for the ‘Cutting Edge’ film series. 
13) Your ‘like-for-like’ storyboard segment.
14) All exercises/outcomes from your Character Workshops with Justin Wyatt
15) Your final submission must include a short reflective statement. A reflective statement is a statement in which the student considers their experience of a project. Reflective statements are used to understand past events, learn lessons and identify best practice.

You will present on crit day from a single presentation blog post comprising your 'Art Of' publication, animatic and Maya pre-viz. Your presentation should follow this order: 
  1. Art Of 
  2. Animatic 
  3. Maya Pre-viz.
Important: please note, your From Script To Screen crit starts at 10am sharp in Lecture Theatre 1 - at which point the doors will close.  The order in which you'll be presenting your work will be randomised, which means any one of you may be presenting first!

If circumstances beyond your control* prevent you from attending on time, you must contact Hazel Searles before 10am. Students should seek to arrive in advance of the start time to ensure they are prepared. Your project management and professionalism count. Please prepare for your crit as you would for an interview or pitch. For some 'Rough Guide' style advice re. the stuff of engaging crit presentations, please go here.
And finally...

This is you. You're going to be amazing!

*But not issues in regard to last-minute technical problems that reflect poor project management. Thursday is your deadline, not Friday.

Please use your social networks to ensure everyone has seen this information. Many thanks.

Friday, February 15, 2019

CAA Careers: Paid summer internship with Superspline Studios

Today's exciting work experience opportunity comes to you courtesy of Superspline Studios in beautiful Leamington Spa.  They are offering a 3 month paid internship, starting in May (with some flexibility on start date).

Find out more about the work placement, and apply HERE!

Thursday, February 14, 2019

CAA One-A-Day: Enough

I bloody love this!

CAA One-A-Day: Smash And Grab

CAA Careers: Work experience at Bloc Digital...

Please could the students who expressed an interest in the work experience opportunity at Bloc Digital, make sure that they have checked their UCA email for further instructions... if you could reply to my email so that I know you have seen it, that would be great - Thank you!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

CAA Careers: Watch this space! Exciting internship opportunities coming soon!

Over the next day or so, I will be bringing you some exciting work experience opportunities, so keep your eyes peeled! 

In the meantime, be thinking about making sure your blogs are up-to-date and professional looking, and likewise any other platforms you share your work on.  Remember, first impressions count! 

Monday, February 11, 2019

FAO CAA Yr 1 & 2 / The Internal Student Survey 2019 Is Go!

Today is launch day for the Internal Student Survey 2019.  The short version is the ISS is the opportunity for current year 1 and 2 students to feedback to the University about their experience at UCA so far.  Your feedback is valued very highly by the University.

You can access the survey here.  

Your login details for the survey have been emailed to your UCA email accounts - please check - you'll need the username and password it contains.

Okay - so what does the survey entail? 30 core questions relating to the following aspects of the student learning experience:

  • Teaching on my Course (Are you learning stuff and is it challenging?)
  • Assessment and Feedback (i.e. blogs/tutorials/OGRs/crits/proformas/chats in the refectory...)
  • Academic Support  (quality of feedback/availability of help etc.)
  • Organisation and Management (timetables & communication between staff & students etc.)
  • Learning Resources (spaces, kit, library...)
  • Personal Development (i.e. core skills/greater confidence presenting/writing/drawing/doing stuff etc).
  • Overall Satisfaction (Are we doing okay?)
  • Students' Union

The survey doesn't take long, but it is important you consider your responses carefully. It may feel like just another box-ticking exercise - but it isn't. The ISS survey is crucial to our understanding of what you think about us, and UCA more broadly. You're telling us about the things we're doing well and where stuff needs improving. You're highlighting the weaknesses and safe-guarding the good bits. You can help your course team make things better. Your feedback is used to improve the experience for future students, so be honest, but be constructive. Your views on what we do become part of formal monitoring processes within the University, which promotes discussion and debate. In short - data derived from the ISS - from you - is taken very seriously!  Rest assured, the findings of the survey are anonymous!

If, when you've completed the survey, could you leave a 'Done it' comment on this post that would be helpful!

If you have any queries regarding the ISS - for example, should you experience difficulty logging in or accessing the survey, please email

Many thanks!

Friday, February 08, 2019

FAO CAA Yr 1 & 2: The 2019 Internal Student Survey - Launching Monday!

You'll soon be invited to complete the Internal Student Survey (ISS). 

The ISS asks current students for a rating of their satisfaction via multiple choice questions for the following areas: 

1) Teaching
2)  Assessment and Feedback
3)  Academic Support
4)  Organisation & management
5)  Learning Resources
6)  Personal Development
7)  Overall satisfaction with the quality of your course
8)  Students’ Union

There are also free-text questions which ask you to feedback on your course and university experience.

Improving the student experience is a key strategy to our development as a University. The survey is crucial to our understanding of what you think about us. It informs us of the things we're doing well and where they need improving. Your feedback is used to improve the student experience. Results become part of formal monitoring processes within the University.  Put simply, UCA takes your feedback via this survey very seriously so consider your responses carefully.

On Monday, you will be sent an invite email to your UCA email address.  The invitation email will include the link to survey and a username and password.

Watch this space for more information - in the meantime, please share this notification widely via your social networks.  Many thanks.

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

FAO CAA Yr 1: Contexts / 2000 Word Written Assignment / OGR / Friday 1st March 2019

Friday 1st March 2019 is your Contexts 2000 Word Written Assignment OGR

Your OGR is to be presented as a single Scribd presentation on your blog, beginning with your name, date, and project title. Save your documents as PDFs before uploading to Scribd, as this should mitigate against formating glitches. Your OGR presentations should be uploaded to your blogs by Friday 1st March. Written feedback will follow as a comment on your OGR post and will take between 2 - 3 days.

Contexts OGR:  What do you need to present?
  • Your introduction (completed).
  • A paragraph-by-paragraph plan for your main body to include supporting quotes, paraphrases and illustrations.
  • A completed research proforma (at least 12 entries).

In short, I should be able to look at your OGR and see your argument, use of supporting evidence and structure very clearly before you commit time and energy to writing every word - and thus be able to feedback, trouble-shoot and fine-tune usefully.  Importantly, your paragraph plan requires you to have done the difficult bit - i.e. figured out what you want to say about your subject, how you're going to say it, why you're saying it, and how you're going to prove what you're saying using reputable sources.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

CAA Careers: Wed 6th Feb...Introduction to Freelancing

The Careers & Employability SPECTRA programme is a series of events including talks and workshops, designed to help you progress in your career.

Are you considering being self-employed or freelancing? This workshop will take you through the pros, cons and things you need to know before you get started.

  • An Introduction to Freelancing
  • Wednesday 6th February
  • 14.00 - 15.30, Lecture Theatre 1
All students welcome! 

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Post With The Most 03/02/2019

This month's Computer Animation Arts Post With The Most is like browsing the shelves of a library. Indeed, we have so many student 'Art Ofs' for your leisurely perusal you might need two cups of tea and an entire packet of biscuits to see everything on here.

Art Ofs are our way of celebrating the full scope of creative work undertaken by our students as they take their ideas from those first nebulous projections in their mind's eye to something concrete, polished, fit-for-purpose, professionalised and shareable.  Let them serve as a rebuff to those funny ideas some people have that on a course specialising in production for 3D animation it's 'the computer' doing all the work!  Ha! Take even the shortest time to flip through some of these publications and you'll see at once our students are formidably powerful in terms of imagining story worlds and their respective inhabitants - oh yeah, and they can build and animate all this stuff too!

Let's kick things off with a selection of design bibles originating from the Year 2 Toolkit classes, where they had to develop original characters in response to randomised prompts...

Our hard-working final year students have just passed the half-way mark on the production of their graduate films with a mid-point submission of their progress so far.  They have an extraordinary amount of work still left to do over the coming months before their hand-in in May, so there is little time to rest on their laurels.  That said, let's all take a moment to review their progress so far and congratulate them on their accomplishments thus far!

Arnold and Ella / Art Of (Minor submission) / Polly Gwinnett

Arnold and Ella / Character turnarounds  / Polly Gwinnett

Long Way Home / Art Of (Minor submission) / Karolina Urlikyte

The Memoirs of Adelaide Rodriques / Art Of (Minor submission) / Eleanor Spence

Playtime / Lava turnaround / Douy Singsamran

Tag / Lava turnaround / Douy Singsamran

Playtime / King  turnaround / Douy Singsamran

Playtime / Hide turnaround / Douy Singsamran

Mr Plimsolls / Animatic / Katie Lima

Mr Plimsolls / Character turnaround  / Katie Lima

How The Stars Came To Glisten / Moon and Sun character turnarounds / Rhia Crouch

Lost Boy / Art Of (Minor submission) / Graeme Daly

Lost Boy / Young Graeme turnaround (wip) / Graeme Daly

Lost Boy / Older Graeme turnaround (wip) / Graeme Daly

Lost Boy / Mrs Pratt turnaround (wip) / Graeme Daly

None Of This / Art Of (Minor submission) / Ellie Row

None Of This / 'The Body' turnaround / Ellie Row

Mr Leopard / Character turnarounds / Laura Boots

Paris Lucke

A Time Part / Fred model test render / Paris Lucke

A Time Part / Doris model test render / Paris Lucke

A Time Apart / Fred turnaround / Paris Lucke

A Time Apart / Character turnarounds / Paris Lucke

A Time Apart / Fred rigging demo  / Paris Lucke

The Cherry Red Shed / Art Of (Minor submission) / Ruth Cann

The Cherry Red Shed / 'Ruth' turnaround  / Ruth Cann

Separated By Time / Art Of (Minor submission) / Anastasija Strelcova

Separated By Time / Animatic (updated)  / Anastasija Strelcova

Separated By Time / Character turnarounds  / Anastasija Strelcova

Meanwhile, work continues on Marcus & The Mystery Of The Pudding Pans - our commissioned animation for the Seaside Museum Herne Bay telling the story of how a collection of Roman pots found their way onto the tables of Whitstable fishermen.  Loyal readers of the PWTM will know that we've working closely with the staff and pupils of Herne Bay Junior School, casting the talented Lake Blumenthal as our voice artist for Marcus, the titular Samian-ware pot whose adventures we're adapting for the small screen.  Early in January, Lake visited the facilities at UCA's Television Production course, where he worked with TV Production's staff to record his dialogue for the animation.  While we were there, a journalist from Meridian News interviewed Lake about his role in the film, and so it was our Heritage Lottery-funded project made it onto the local news!

Lake Blumenthal recording his dialogue in UCA's Television Production's all-new sound studio
Emily Clarkson - Art Director, Production Designer, Environment Artist, Animator (the list goes on!) - continues work on the project, her energy unflagging.  Likewise, Ethan Shilling, the project's technical director, who has just met two big production milestones - the rigging of the four pudding pan characters - Marcus, Saturio, Belsa and Gaius - and also Scuttle, their crustacean side-kick.  This now means animation can soon begin, and I've reached out to a few familiar faces from CAA's recent past, so more updates about the team very soon.

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Pudding Pans / Marcus model / Design by Emily Clarkson, modelled and rigged by Ethan Shilling

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Pudding Pans / Gaius  model / Design by Emily Clarkson, modelled and rigged by Ethan Shilling

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Pudding Pans / Belsa model / Design by Emily Clarkson, modelled and rigged by Ethan Shilling

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Pudding Pans / Saturio model / Design by Emily Clarkson, modelled and rigged by Ethan Shilling

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Pudding Pans / Scuttle model posed  / Design by Emily Clarkson, modelled by Alan Postings & rigged by Ethan Shilling

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Pudding Pans / Scuttle model textured / Design by Emily Clarkson, modelled by Alan Postings & rigged by Ethan Shilling

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Pudding Pans / Sound stage set / Design by Emily Clarkson, modelled by Emily Clarkson & Simon Holland

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Pudding Pans / The pudding pans onboard ship / Design by Emily Clarkson, modelled & rigged by Ethan Shilling

Oh yes - and at one point the script calls for a giant octopus (or rather a tentacle belonging to a giant octopus) and with thanks to Simon Holland, CAA's lecturer in 3D Production for Animation, we now have one!

Marcus & The Mystery Of The Pudding Pans / The Giant Octopus! / Design by Emily Clarkson, modelled by Simon Holland, rigged by Ethan Shilling

The Last Word...

'Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.' Helen Keller